Two Canoes Press (2008)
Montana Book Award Honor Book

Dissecting the Ethos of a Neighborhood…


Ever wonder what your neighbors are doing behind their walls? Perhaps we know the people next door, but what about a few doors down, that person you never, ever see and wonder about? Or the couple across the street seemingly obsessed with their careers, or the old lady down the block?

IRequiem for Locusts, a mentally ill newcomer to Locust Street opens up the inner sanctums of the neighborhood. Marzita, whose mental illness reduces her inhibitions, wanders freely through the backyards on Locust Street.“I am scattered into a million pieces. Little pieces of sand or glass…”

A frail, elderly spinster, a neurologist with a painful shyness of women, a career-obsessed couple, a family of circus acrobats, and a teenager craving an escape from her reality are some of the characters sometimes unwillingly caught up in Marzita’s delusional vision of life. Insanity and reality merge as her life spins out of control, ripping down the boundaries separating her neighbors.

Ultimately, Requiem for Locusts is about neighbors forced to confront the chaos in their own lives, prompted by the psychological chaos of one of their own. It is Frost’s “good fences make good neighbors” adage transformed into “good fences mask the inevitable connections all neighbors have.”

Photo credit: Azimbek Assarov

Parciak reminds us that we can relate to each other however “crazy” we may appear. Written simply and in colorful prose, capable of transporting us right to wherever Locust Street is in our minds. Requiem for Locusts reminds us what it means to be a person living among people.

Amy Zanoni, Missoula Independent

In reading Requiem for Locusts, we see how many of the traumatic experiences of our lives-loneliness, estrangement, old age and mental illness-need to be openly acknowledged and accepted as the very experiences that can bring us together.

Mary Cheadle Babl, The Missoulian

Reading this book was a real pleasure. I was enthralled by Parciak’s characters and disappointed it had to end. I have a new appreciation for mental illness and the patience and love it requires from families. If there were only one thing I could say to Mrs. Parciak about her first novel it would be this: Brava!

Jennifer Melville, Story Circle Book Reviews
Photo credit: Jeremy Bishop

Cover art: Victoria Krassa